Czech Republic inches towards resolution of post-election stalemate
The Czech Republic inched its way closer to a way out of the political stalemate on Wednesday, a stalemate which has gripped the country since inconclusive parliamentary elections seven weeks ago. There are now increasing signs the two main parties are reconciled to reaching some sort of deal on sharing power.
On Wednesday, however, there was a minor breakthrough. The Civic Democrats and their two coalition allies - the Christian Democrats and Greens - announced they would no longer field a candidate for lower house speaker. They had made two bids for the post, and both failed. Now they seem to be ready to allow the Social Democrats to occupy the position once again. Indeed, it seems likely the current speaker, Lubomir Zaoralek, will be re-elected.
Most Czechs are thoroughly fed up with the post-election stalemate, and want some sort of solution. The problem is the two main parties have only three viable options: (a) a grand coalition of the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats, (b) a minority Civic Democrat government tolerated by the Social Democrats, or (c) a caretaker government taking the country to early elections.
But neither party wants to be seen as giving too much away, nor do they want to be seen as betraying their voters. The unwieldy Czech constitution also doesn't give them much room for manoeuvre. This is why it's all taking so long, and also why a viable government is unlikely before autumn.